Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas Eve 2008 Homily

Christmas/12.24.08/Fort Q & IH/Luke 2:8-14

· Christmas is all about gifts
o It really is
§ Oh sure, we teach our kids that Christmas is about something deeper and more meaningful than gifts
· Oh sure, we say that it is about more than gifts and it is more about getting together with family and friends and spending quality time together
o And no doubt this is true
§ But let us not kid ourselves
· Christmas is about gifts

· We spend hours shopping for gifts and often looking for that perfect gift for that special someone
o We go tooth and nail into the Wal-Mart to get that special doll or video game or iPod or whatnot for our kids
§ Ebay and online shopping has brought an entirely new dimension of craziness to the Seasonal shopping
· And once we have completed and conquered our Christmas shopping we bring our trophies home we wrap them and decorate them and place them under the tree
o Then we look at them, we shake them, we weigh them, we ponder them
§ Christmas is about gifts

· A gift is something that is given with no strings attached
o If it is given because of what someone has done it is not a gift but a reward or payment
§ If it is given in hopes of motivating someone to do something then it is not a gift but a bribe
· A gift is given because the giver wants the receiver to have it – that’s it.

· How many of the gifts that sit under your tree this evening would fall into that category?
o Or, to put it another way, how many of those gifts under the tree that have your name on them would you say you truly deserve?
§ That you could say honestly that you deserve those gifts because you have fulfilled perfectly what you should have as a husband, wife, father, mother, son, daughter, brother, sister, employee, employer, neighbour, citizen, Christian?
· Have you measured up to perfection in 2008?
o Have you even come close?
§ No. You have not. In fact you have fallen short.
· I don’t know the details. I don’t need to. You know it is true. I know it is true. Scripture in fact declares clearly
o Romans 3:23 – all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God
§ We all have fallen short. We all have not measured up.

· And let’s not kid ourselves. We aren’t fooling anyone.
o Those around us see our shortcomings.
§ Those around us know we have not lived up to our responsibilities and callings as husbands and wives, mothers and fathers, sons and daughters, brothers and sisters, employees and employers, neighbours, citizens, and Christians
· We may try and keep up appearances, and for the most part we do pretty well at it
o But those who are closest to us, they know
§ And you know.
· Scripture is true. We know it in our hearts even if we have never put words to it.
o Romans 3:23 – all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God

· That’s why I think we all have an understanding of grace even if we have never given it any real thought
o We know we are not perfect. We know that others around us are not perfect. We may not call it sin… but we know what I am talking about.
§ And yet how many of you expect to find a lump of coal in your stocking tomorrow morning?
· How many of you decided that someone was rather too naughty and gave them a lump of coal?
o I doubt very much anyone here will receive a lump of coal or has given someone else one
§ But who here can honestly say they don’t deserve one?

· Christmas is about gifts.
o Our gift giving, and even our grace to others and the grace we receive from others, is a picture of a greater gift
§ The gift we have been singing about and hearing about in the Scripture readings today
· The gift that was announced to the Shepherds so long ago
o And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with fear. And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.
§ On that first Christmas God gave the most glorious and most undeserved gift to the world
· His Son Jesus

· 2000 years ago Jesus was born of the Virgin Mary
o Jesus, truly man, truly God, at the same time
§ God became man, took on flesh and blood, in the mystery of the Incarnation
· Of this event Christians have not stopped singing and pondering, marvelling and rejoicing
o You all know the carols, even, if you were like me and didn’t grow up in the Church, you didn’t know what they meant - but you know them
§ They are about Jesus
· They are about this glorious event that God became man
o This miraculous birth, this impossible thing that God has made possible because with God all things are possible
§ that God has become man - Christmas is about gifts

· All the gifts under your tree – they are to point you to Jesus
o All the Christmas gifts are to remind us of the greatest gift – Jesus
§ No, just as the rest of the gifts under the tree, we don’t deserve the gift of God’s Son
· We are sinners, we have fallen short
o However, God so loved the world, He so loved you, that He sent to you this gift, wrapped in swaddling cloths and laid in a manger
§ The grace we might show to one another stems from this grace, the grace of God, sending us the gift of Jesus
· That He might take on flesh and live a perfect life in our place, that in that flesh He would suffer for our sins on the cross, and in that flesh rise again that first Easter and defeat death
o Jesus, the true Christmas gift, has in the flesh defeated sin, death, and the devil
§ He has done it for you
§ He gives it to you. As a free gift.
§ You receive it by grace through faith.

· I don’t know how this Christmas Season finds you.
o Perhaps you are surrounded with friends and family and joy
§ Perhaps you look at an empty chair and weep this Christmas
· Perhaps you look forward to 2009 with some fear and trepidation not knowing what it brings to you and yours
o Perhaps you walk with a great burden of guilt upon your shoulders for the sins of the past
§ Perhaps you feel shame and sorrow not knowing where you fit in or where you will be accepted
· Perhaps even being in this building this evening, the House of God, makes you feel uncomfortable, all these church people, and so on
o But hear this, and hear it well,
§ “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.

· Jesus, His love, forgiveness, mercy and grace
o He is truly the only free gift you will ever receive
§ He comes to you and for you each and every time we gather as His people for Services
· Don’t believe the nonsense that you can worship Him at home, or on the golf course, or on the lake while fishing
o That’s not true and you know it – don’t kid yourself
§ He is not there for you in the same way He has promised to come to you in His Church wrapped in His Words of forgiveness, baptismal water, and in Holy Communion under the bread and wine

· This gift of Jesus is for you, it is for all
o No, if you go to Bethlehem today you will not find Him in the manger for you
§ But He comes to you now in the manger of His Word and Sacraments
· Wrapped not in swaddling cloths, but in Words, in water, in bread and wine, in His Church
o He is here for you, that is His promise
§ This gift of God, THE Christmas gift, Jesus, is for you
· Receive Him
o Marvel at Him
§ Rejoice in His grace and forgiveness
§ For it is because of Him, this wonderful Christmas gift Jesus, that we can sing Joy to the World!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Fantasy Football Report

The Fantasy Football Season is over for another year. This year I migrated over to Yahoo! Fantasy Sports for the first time after several years at The Sporting News. I had three teams this year each with slightly different rules.

In the first league I finished the regular season in first place but in the playoffs lost and finished in 3rd.

In the second league I finished the regular season in 7th place but had a good playoffs and ended up in 5th place.

In the third league I finished the regular season in first place and finished THE LEAGUE CHAMPION!!!!!

In all three leagues I was the only Canadian. I had to represent!

I have three Fantasy Hockey teams. So far I am in 1st, 3rd, and 7th.

What I can't understand is why the Canadian Football League has not started up a Fantasy Football league?

You Know You are Canadian When...

You are in the middle of a cold snap in December and you and your wife decide it is a good time to BBQ burgers for supper.

You are standing on the deck with boots and parka on while flipping burgers in -29 degree weather and you think to yourself -- Hmmmmm, it really is not that bad when you are out of the wind.

Friday, December 19, 2008

More Snow

More snow, more snow, more snow. A white Christmas indeed around here. I took these pics out the front door of the church on my phone this morning.

Isaiah 1:18
"Come now, let us reason together, says the LORD:
though your sins are like scarlet,
they shall be as white as snow;
though they are red like crimson,
they shall become like wool."
This gives us a good picture of what the prophet was talking about. The white snow covers all it falls upon. This particular snow today is very fine because of the cold weather we have been having. It covers everything. Our Lord's life, death, and resurrection covers over all our sin. A day like today is a good reminder of this wonderful passage from Scripture and a good reminder of our Lord's grace and mercy.
Even New Orleans got snow this year! Check Father Hollywood's blog out to see!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

A Brief Thought on an Advent Hymn

LSB #347 Comfort, Comfort Ye My People

Verse 3
Hark, the herald’s voice is crying
In the desert far and near,
Calling sinners to repentance,
Since the Kingdom now is here.
O that warning cry obey!
Now prepare for God a way;
Let the valleys rise to meet Him
And the hills bow down to greet Him.

I just love the poetry in this hymn and especially in this verse.

Let the valleys rise to meet Him
And the hills bow down to greet Him

What a beautiful picture in words! Nothing impeding our Lord's coming. When our Lord returns all impediments will be removed.

What about now? The impediment we all have is a sinful heart - which leads to lack of faith and trust. However, our Lord comes - He comes to us through His Word and Sacraments. Even now, the Holy Spirit works to raise the valleys and bow the hills of your heart. Even now the Lord comes to you. He speaks, "Comfort, Comfort!"

Saturday, December 13, 2008


I am Canadian. However, I cannot help comment on the "Big 3" automaker bailout. It does effect us Canadians as well.

So, if I understand correctly, if the US government gives any money to the "Big 3" automakers they will also set up an advisor board and a so called "Czar." So, let me get this straight. The US government wants to set up an oversight board to help guide and instruct the automakers how to make vehicles? The US government wants to set up some bureaucracy to help the automakers make better cars? Can they be serious? Setting up another level of bureaucracy - and a governmental one at that - will help the automakers become more efficient? Want to bet? The "Big 3" automakers need oversight? They need Mom and Dad watching over them to make sure they make good vehicles? Then they should not be in business. If they can't figure out how to make decent vehicles on their own - since that is their business - should the US government be holding their hand? And, really, is adding the government into the mix really going to help? Refer to the poster...

Friday, December 5, 2008

On Tasers

So, here is something I have been thinking about for a while. It is not theological. I claim no expertise in the area. But, here are my thoughts on tasers.
There has been much concern lately in press reports regarding the use of taser guns by police (and in particular among the Royal Canadian Mounted Police). The claim is that taser guns are dangerous and potentially harmful and in a few cases even lethal. All of those concerns are valid I am sure. I have no doubt that a taser gun can be dangerous, harmful, and even lethal.
But here is the thing: If you don't want to be hit with a taser gun - follow the police officer's orders! The RCMP don't wander around town randomly firing their taser gun at people going about their shopping or picking up their mail. A taser gun is employed to bring a non-compliant person into compliance. A taser gun is employed if a person is not obeying the police officer's commands and is potentially seen as a threat to himself or others.
Police officers want to get home to their families safely. If they are dealing with a person who chooses not to obey their orders they are a threat. There are various ways in which that threat may be reduced or eliminated. You could physically restrain them using various methods of force (punch, club, etc) which puts the officer directly in harms way. You could shoot them - which increases the potential of fatality or serious injury to the person. Or you could use a taser gun. Yes, the potential for injury and harm is there - but less so than being shot. Also, the taser gun significantly reduces the risk for the police officer as he does not need to go into physical combat. The taser gun protects the police officer - and let's not forget why we have to discuss this to begin with - the person is not obeying the police officer's commands!
Everyone is concerned about the risk that the taser gun represents to the person being hit with it. I have not heard many people comment on the risk a non-compliant person poses to the police officer. So from what I can see a taser gun is a reasonable weapon for a police officer. If you choose to disobey a police officer's commands you will suffer the consequences - and you ought to! When you disobey the officer's commands you put him at risk. The taser gun reduces that risk. Seems fair to me.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008


I saw this somewhere....

Monday, December 1, 2008

What I Love About Advent

I love the Season of Advent because of the Scripture readings and themes and hymns heard in Divine Service. Those elements heard on Sundays and during midweek Services provide the theme for each day leading up to Christmas. As a preacher I love the texts for Advent and the hymns that accompany them.

I think it is important to observe Advent and not Christmas until it is Christmas. I think it is healthy so that Christians would celebrate Christmas during the twelve Days of Christmas and focus on that period of time rather than the period of time October - December 25. Though, I am not quite as concerned about it as I once was. During Divine Service I observe it rather strictly but outside of the Divine Service I am not too worried.

The Season of Advent has a penitential aspect. Quite different than the festive atmosphere that often accompanies much of December with office parties, school parties, etc. the Church observes a period of repentance and reflection. Preparing for our Lord's return is a theme that runs throughout all of Advent. How does one prepare for His return? Our Lord prepares us through bringing us to repentance. What a contrast to much of what happens in December.

Advent is a season of anticipation. It is a longing for our Lord Jesus. Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

On Calls

After more than seven years in the parish I had never received a call to serve another congregation. Truth is I was not seeking a call - but I had not received one to consider. Then, curiously, I received two calls in a little over a month. One in September and one in October. As of this morning I have declined both. In both cases I declined not so much because I didn't want to go "there" but because I felt that I should stay here.

In going through the process I learned much. Below are some observations:

1. Having another parish call you to serve as their pastor is a most humbling experience. It makes you think - "Really? Me?"

2. It is encouraging to speak to other people in other parishes who love their parish and their Lord.

3. It is very healthy to face the prospect of moving on and consider the reasons to stay.

4. Facing a potential change is rejuvenating.

5. It is hard to tell a congregation you decline the call.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Check out the Latest Canadian Lutheran

Check out the latest Canadian Lutheran (October 2008)! I was again privileged to be asked to write something for it. This was a first - my piece was added to a number of others to make one article! Anyway - here it is if you can't get your hands on a hard copy:

Also, check out the interview with our new Synodical president!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008


I don't know if Barrack Obama is a good guy or a bad guy. Who can tell with the media. However, I am a little uncomfortable with some of the right wing Christian reaction to his election. "Socialist!" "Communist!" They seem to think that because he has been elected the sky is falling. They seem to have lost sight of the fact that the Republican/Democrat political spectrum is not all there is to the poiltical spectrum. There is an entire planet out there beyond the USA's borders. The truth is - the Democrats are likely right politically than the Conservatives in Canada! So, to my American friends, calm down.
Barrack Obama also has me thinking - I would not want to be him. People have such high expectations. The poor man does not have a chance. Change? Well, let's not forget there is a system in place. It takes a long time to make "change." I am wondering how long it will take for people to get bored with the little "changes" that can occur in a huge system.
And finally, to conclude this somewhat random Barrack themed thought cluster - did you hear his speach on the night he was elected? That was preaching. Making the same point in several different ways but always returning to the central point. A little "sermon illustration" of the 100 year old lady voter. Some repetition at the end (very Bob the Builder I must point out - yeah I have kids). That was a sermon. Effective. Well done. But it was in the style of a sermon. How intriguing.

Friday, November 7, 2008

TDP Carrying Case Cover

OK, so I just finsihed praying Vespers with TDP. I know - it is a little early for Vespers but I wanted to give it a try. It is wasy to follow. A great resource - just a I surmised from my review of the digital version.

I didn't order the carrying case cover for TDP. Did any of you? Is it helpful?

It's Arrived!

OK, I can stop whining now. My bonded leather edition of The Treasury of Daily Prayer arrived this afternoon. I just opened the box. I have some work to get through this afternoon and then I am going to dive into it for a while. I can't wait to start using it for my Matins Services next week!

After familiarzing myself with it and also with the small group who joins me for Matins each morning - I am thinking of having the parish buy 3-4 copies to have on hand for such Services. However, I also want to encourage the members of our parish to purchase their own for their own daily use at home.

Monday, November 3, 2008

A Package in the Mail....

My wife arrives home from the post office. She carries a box- about the right size. It was shipped from St. Louis from Concordia Publishing House. Surely this is it! Surely this is the long awaited Treasury of Daily Prayer! I take the package. It feels about the right weight. I carefully cut through the packing tape. I get the glimpse of the maroon coloured book inside. "This is it!" I declare to all around. I remove the packing paper. Lectionary: Series B.

Still waiting up in Canada for my TDP.

Next year I order the One Year Series.

Friday, October 31, 2008

TDP & Friday

It's Friday. My Treasury of Daily Prayer was shipped earlier this week from St. Louis (I believe that is from where it was shipped). I have now come to accept I will not receive my TDP this week. I have had to suffer through my American friends gloating and frothing at the mouth over their copies :-). I am jeaous. I want it. Now.

Truth is I have been using the electronic edition I was given for review for over a month each morning for Matins. There is a small group (1-2) that join me most mornings for Matins and I have been using the readings and the prayer for each day. I can't wait to get my copy so I can incorporate the daily reading from the Writing and the commemorations. What I am thinking is that once I get my copy and am able to show people it I will see about getting a bulk order. I also want to order 4-5 for the parish to have around for when people to join me for Matins they can follow along if they don't have their own.

Waiting anxiously for my TDP way up in Canada....

What is a Spiritual LIfe?

I have another thought I was pondering.

It seems to me that the use of the term "spiritual life" is not helpful. We will talk about our daily life and also our "spiritual" life. This is not helpful. It introduces a dangerous dichotomy. As a Christian what part of your life is not spiritual? How do you divorce your "daily life" from your "spiritual life?"

There is no such thing as our "spiritual life" apart from our "daily life." There is life. Your life. Do you live it with the knowledge of God? Do you live it knowing that you are a baptized child of God? Do you live it knowing that Jesus has risen?

Monday, October 27, 2008

Reformation Thoughts

Perhaps what I will say below will be offensive to some. However, they were some thoughts that came to me last evening after I returned home from our Circuit Reformation Service we hosted here at Our Saviour.

The hymns we sang were great (By Grace I'm Saved, Salvation Unto Us Has Come, A Mighty Fortress). The sermon was a very good sermon which clearly expressed the Gospel and delivered well by Pastor Daryl Solie. I rejoiced in the Good News of the Gospel. I gave thanks to God for His mercy and forgiveness freely given to me for the sake of Christ. But I couldn't shake this feeling - this feeling of sadness. Why? This is not the way it should be.

The Church of Christ is divided. To a certain degree the Reformation represents a failure. It was not the intention to create a new church body. Yet it did. There was no choice of course - the Gospel needed to be given free reign and the church body of the day would not allow it. Nonetheless, it was not the intention of the Reformers and it is a sad reality to this day. It makes me wonder - is the Lutheran Church of today (and I mean those that are authentically Lutheran) an unfortunate necessity? While we ought to rejoice in the Gospel and the fact that we are able to believe, teach, and confess the pure Gospel - should we not also lament the fact that we must exist as a "Lutheran" church body?

I am in no way advocating a return to "Mother Church." Such thinking is folly for there is no such Church. The Church of Rome still teaches the same heresy it did in Luther's day. It must not be tolerated in the Christian Church. The reality is the Lutheran Church is catholic and orthodox. Any Lutheran must believe this. However, how is it that on such a day of joy and celebration brought about by the freedom to believe, teach, and confess the true Gospel - this sadness remains?

Monday, October 20, 2008

Some thoughts on Lutheranism

This is about the sum of our teaching. As can be seen, there is nothing here that departs from the Scriptures or the catholic church or the church of Rome, in so far as the ancient church is known to us from its writers.[1]

Nothing has here been said or related for the purpose of injuring anybody. 5 Only those things have been recounted which it seemed necessary to say in order that it may be understood that nothing has been received among us, in doctrine or in ceremonies, that is contrary to Scripture or to the church catholic. For it is manifest that we have guarded diligently against the introduction into our churches of any new and ungodly doctrines.[2]

There are many who when they think of the Lutheran church as a whole see it as a “new” church. They see it as a creation of Martin Luther and his followers. They believe that what the Lutherans believed, taught, and confessed was “new” or “innovative.” Many believe that the Lutheran doctrine introduced something unknown to the Church. This conception of the Lutheran church is entirely mistaken.

I have had conversations where laypeople and pastors in the Lutheran church exhibit this kind of thinking. I have had laypeople and pastors express this sentiment: “Well Martin Luther tried something new so we can too!” Or, “Luther changed everything – so can we!” This line of thinking is quite contrary to the thinking of Luther and the Reformers. This line of thinking is contrary to the Lutheran Church and indeed to the catholic Church as a whole. This kind of thinking is dangerous and is ultimately arrogant and prideful.

As Charles Porterfield Krauth termed it – the Lutheran Reformation was a “Conservative Reformation.” As he writes: “It is vastly more important, then, to know what the Reformation retained than what it overthrew; for the overthrow of error, though often an indispensable prerequisite to the establishment of the truth, is not truth itself; it may clear the foundation, simply to substitute one error for another, perhaps a greater for a less”[3]

When one reads the Lutheran Confessions it is made clear that the Confessors’ intention was not to formulate new doctrines but to keep what had always been taught. It was not so much an attempt to introduce something new but a plea to return to something old! The Confessions, and perhaps no more clearly than in the Augsburg Confession and the Apology, are presenting the case that what is being taught therein is simply in line with what the Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church has always taught. The Confessions are simply pointing out where the Roman church of the day had strayed from those teachings and the Confessors’ desire was to call the Church back to its historic teachings.

As one reads through the Confessions, and again most apparently the Augsburg Confession and its Apology, one is struck by the constant references to the Church Fathers. St. Augustine and St. John Chrysostom prove to be the two most frequently quoted among the Fathers. The Catalogue of Testimonies, often overlooked or entirely forgotten, was appended to the early editions of the Book of Concord “to show that the Lutheran teaching about the two natures of Christ is thoroughly in line with the historic and universal faith of the Christian Church.”[4] The Catalogue is itself a collection of both Holy Scripture and quotations from the Church Fathers supporting various teaching touching upon the nature of Christ. This gives insight into the way the Reformers both viewed their theological positions and also into their method of theology itself.

It seems to me that many of our people as well as many of our clergy, indeed we ourselves, have drifted from “doing” theology in the way of the Reformers. We have uncritically adopted a North American protestant approach to “doing” theology rather than the method of the “Conservative Reformation.” We trust ourselves and our individualistic notions above those who have gone before us. We are intellectually arrogant rather than humble. We judge those who have gone before us as ignorant and only trust in what is “new” and “relevant.” We do not hesitate to discard a long held teaching of the Church if it does not meet our “rational” expectations.

This was not the way of the Reformers. This is not the way of the Church. We might ask ourselves in our day, “What do we know now that makes us better students of the Bible than St. Augustine, Ignatius, Cyril, Ambrose, and others?” We must not isolate ourselves from those who have gone before us in the Faith. We must listen to them so that we do not become blinded by our own Age. We must ask, before we choose to discard a teaching of the Ancient Church, “Why?”

To be sure, the Church Fathers can be held in too high esteem and begin serving almost as a “norming norm.” This is dangerous and is certainly not the way of the Reformers. Chrysostom himself wrote:

Let us not therefore carry about the notions of the many, but examine into the facts. For how is it not absurd that in respect to money, indeed, we do not trust to others, but refer this to figures and calculation; but in calculating upon facts we are lightly drawn aside by the notions of others; and that too, though we possess an exact balance, and square and rules for all things, the declaration of the divine laws? Wherefore I exhort and entreat you all, disregard what this man and that man thinks about these things, and inquire from the Scriptures all these things.[5]

The Confessions also state:

But our papists make use of such human opinions to make men believe their shameful, blasphemous, accursed traffic in Masses which are offered for souls in purgatory, etc. They can never demonstrate these things from Augustine. Only when they have abolished their traffic in purgatorial Masses (which St. Augustine never dreamed of) shall we be ready to discuss with them whether statements of St. Augustine are to be accepted when they are without the support of the Scriptures and whether the dead are to be commemorated in the sacrament. It will not do to make articles of faith out of the holy Fathers’ words or works. Otherwise what they ate, how they dressed, and what kind of houses they lived in would have to become articles of faith — as has happened in the case of relics. This means that the Word of God shall establish articles of faith and no one else, not even an angel.[6]

So, it seems, we need to strike a “middle road.” We, in our day, must reacquaint ourselves with our Confessions and the Church Fathers upon which much of the Confessions are based. We must be willing to listen to the Fathers and allow their influence in our theology today. We must critically examine our presently held ideas and positions and if they differ from that of the Church Fathers we must wrestle with why we differ. What is it we know now that the Fathers did not? Have we gained some exegetical insight or have we changed our position because of our present context? Is it a valid change? We must resist the modern and present day arrogance among us that assumes we have greater insight than those who have gone before us. However, we must not view the Fathers as an inerrant source. We must also use our critical skills when reading them. We must always hold to the Word alone as our “norming norm.” It is only the Word of God that is above and beyond the present Age.

[1]Tappert, T. G. (2000, c1959). The Augsburg confession : Translated from the Latin (The Confession of Faith: 2, XXI, 4). Philadelphia: Fortress Press.
[2]Tappert, T. G. (2000, c1959). The Augsburg confession : Translated from the Latin (The Confession of Faith: 3, VIII, 4-5). Philadelphia: Fortress Press.
[3] Charles Porterfirld Krauth, The Conservative Reformation and Its Theology (repr. St. Louis: CPH, 2007), 202.
[4] Concordia: The Lutheran Confessions, p.651.
[5] St. John Chrysostom, Homilies on the Second Epistle of St. Paul the Apostle to the Corinithians, Homily XIII,
(Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers First Series), Volume 12, p. 346.
[6] Tappert, T. G. (2000, c1959). The book of concord : The confessions of the evangelical Lutheran church (The Smalcald Articles: 2, II, 13-15). Philadelphia: Fortress Press.

I Am Sorely Vexed

So the NFL Season so far has been full of surprises. How is a guy supposed to win his "Pick 'em" leagues if teams like St. Louis keep winning? I mean if there was one thing I should have been bale to count on was the Rams losing to the Cowboys. I put the highest level of confidence points in that one. Ouch.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

The American Revolution/Rebellion and Vocation

I doubt I am the first to raise this but I am curious to read the response. Was the American Revolution/Rebellion an example of breaking the 4th Commandment? As the Small Catechism teaches us - we are to submit to the governing authorities. We are to submit to the governing authorities unless we are forced to break God's Word - then we obey God rather than men. Perhaps that is a rather basic summary - but I think it suffices for now.
So that being the case - what was it that prompted the American Revolution/Rebellion? What was it that pained the consciences of the Americans to the point where they felt they were being forced to contradict God's Word by submitting to the Crown? From what did they seek independence? From what sin did they flee?
Furthermore, I wonder, what of those who remained loyal to the Crown? Were they in some sense obeying man rather than God? Would that have been an argument at the time? What did Lutherans from around the world make of the Revolution/Rebellion at the time?
Enquiring, and historically ignorant, minds want to know.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Election Day - Canadian Style

Today is election day in Canada. In Canada we don't fool around. An election is called and two months later - bang! we vote.
What is that? Oh, our Prime Minister passed a bill stating that we would have fixed election dates a la the USA? He ignored that because he was in a Minority government? Let's not talk about that...
I will vote. I have voted in almost every Provincial and Federal election since I was 18. I do my duty. I even follow politics - though rarely do I voice my opinion publicly regarding particular parties and politicians.
However, I must say I am truly tired of the political process as it has become. The so called debates and discussions are nothing other than an opportunity for the politicians to voice their "talking points." They all do it. All of them. However, the one politician in Canada that I think is the best (or worst) example of this is Jack Layton. It drives me crazy. Any question posed he turns into a discussion of his talking points. It is so transparent. And if I hear him say "working families" one more time I will cry. Tears. Actual tears rolling down my cheeks. Do you hear that Jack? Don't make me cry.
I am not the first to say this and I don't claim I am revealing any great insight here - but public discourse is dead. We no longer know how to discuss, debate, and argue in rational and meanigful ways. The fact that the term "rhetoric" has become a slur is indicative of the situation. Rhetoric: the art of using language effectively and persuasively. No - we don't want that in our politics apparently. We want monotonous talking points, ad hominem attacks, red herrings, and begging the question. Why? I don't know. It drives me crazy. But they wouldn't do it if it wasn't effective. Has it always been this way? Maybe. I don't know. Probably.
An example. The Conservatives attack the Liberal "Carbon Tax" on the basis of.... it is scary! It is a risk! The comercials don't lay out anything other than it may be a big risk and it is scary. I am not saying I like the idea of a carbon tax but how about giving some actual reasons against the the Carbon Tax rather than just saying: BOO!
The Liberals: I really don't know what to say here. I am not sure what they are about. Something about a Carbon Tax and they say Stephen Harper doesn't care about people or some such.
The Green Party: ?.
The Bloc Quebecois: A travesty that a seperatist party is even a part of the game. I suspect in many other countries instead of being a political party they would be in jail for treason.
So, I will vote. It is the least I can do. Literally. In a democracy it is the least you can do. I just wish I felt more inspired by the process.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Thanksgiving - Canadian Style

This is Thanksgiving weekend for us Canadians. Monday is officially Thanksging Day. Many have their Thanksging feast on one of the three days of the weekend. I love Thanksgiving! Turkey, cranberries, stuffing, yams, potatoes, gravy, pumpkin pie. This is Thanksgiving Canadian style.

Noah, Naomi, and I (Abigail was sick with a fever so Chris stayed home with her) went to my brother and sister-in-law's where my parents are visiting for the weekend. It was a great meal. On the way home I drove through a full blown Canadian Prairie blizzard (not exactly as represented in the pic but close!). We could not go much more than 70kms/hr and at one point we could only go 40 kms/hr. Like I said: Thanksgiving - Canadian style!
This morning the ground is white with snow. The kids had a blast playing in the snow this morning. It looks like most will melt by the end of the day - but it is a foretaste of what is to come. It is a little early for the snow to stay until the Spring!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

A Glorious Day

Today marks a most glorious time of year. It also happens to be our wedding anniversary today. :-)

Today the NHL season begins (in full). Also, we are in the middle of the MLB playoffs. And the CFL is in full swing as is the NFL.

This is glorious - and it is marvelous in my eyes.

Monday, October 6, 2008


On Saturday I received very bad and sad news regarding some members in the parish. It has hurt them deeply. As their pastor - it hurts me as well. I mourn with them. I wish I could make it better. I can't. It has me thinking this morning...

From the outside life looks as if it is flowing along smoothly. People wake up, drink coffee, go to work, go golfing, read the paper, check out their stocks, watch SportsCentre, pick up the kids, cut the grass, do the dishes, and so on. It all seems rather simple, planned, expected. Every day will be this way.

The reality is that every day, everywhere, all the time there are major crises occurring to people all around you. Life altering events. Earth shaking. Announcements of disease. A marriage falling apart. Children getting into serious trouble. Injuries. Accidents. Miscarriage. Death. There are many people that are in the middle of a major crisis and they cannot understand how everybody else is living life as normal and their life is totally upside down. People all around you are dealing with seriously heavy stuff. Every time you hear an ambulance's or a police cruiser's or a fire engine's siren - we should be reminded of this.

Before I served in the parish I never truly realized that this was the case. In many ways I had floated through life without any major traumatic event. That illusion has been removed. I realize the fragility of so called - "normal." I have seen how a Dr's diagnosis, a car accident, a heart attack, a death - can suddenly change someone's "normal" forever.

Perhaps you have no idea of what I am talking about. You will. Unfortunately you too will have your "normal" changed forever in some way on some day.

That's life. There is much good. There is much bad. We like to hide ourselves from the bad and we try and ignore it and pretend it won't happen to us or our loved ones. It will. That's lilfe. If ignorance is bliss - that bliss will not last long.

Better to face the reality. Better to know what life is really like and not what we want it to be. Better to recognize that what is now will not always be. Better to get rid of a false sense of security. Better to not rely on "normal." Better to realize the truth and shed the illusion of a nice peaceful life. It does not exist this side of heaven. It is only a fantasy.

What then can we rely on? What can we do when "normal" is destroyed forever? What can we do when we look to the future and the uncertainty causes an overwhelming panic? What can we do with the pain we must endure?

Do you have an answer? You need one. This is not a hypothetical. This is not a "What would you do if...." This is - what will you do when. Do you have an answer?

As a pastor I learned very quickly I do not have all the answers. In many of the crisis situations I have been involved with there is no way I can make it better. I cannot say a few well spoken words and "fix it" and make everyone feel better. But I can be there with them. I can suffer with them. I often do not need to say anything. In many cases I should not say anything. Just be. Care. That is enough. What you say will not be remembered. But that you were there will be.

But that comes from not being surprised at life. That comes from knowing that this life is a mess. That comes from knowing that sin has destroyed any hope of living an easy life. That comes from knowing that while we must endure much - our Lord endured more. That comes from knowing that while it seems as if all hell has broken loose - our Lord has overcome it. That comes from the confidence that even though I cannot "fix it" our Lord already has. That comes from knowing that we do not walk through this valley alone.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

1000 Hits!

Well, I must say I am surprised - but my counter now has a little over 1000 hits. Thanks for reading!

Friday, October 3, 2008

Is This a Hate Crime?

My concern and little personal crusade against the abuses of the Human Rights Tribunals and Commissions continues. Here is a link ( to the actual letter that has caused Pastor Stephen Boissoin to be brought before the Alberta Human Rights Commission. Is this a hate crime? Even if you disagree with the content - is this a hate crime?

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

A Blessed Beginning to My Day

It has been a practice of mine to pray Matins most mornings in the sanctuary of the church. Though, in all honesty, it has been a little spotty of late. However, this morning I have begun anew and I had "advertised" it in the bulletin and on our congregational email list and so on that I would have Matins Tuesday-Friday at 9:15 and this morning two members of the parish came to join me for Matins. What a blessing! I love Matins and it is fine praying it alone - but it was wonderful to have others join in with me. I am also blessed that on Wednesday evenings after our Bible study the group joins me in the sanctuary for Compline around 9:00 - the people have grown to love Compline both for its beauty and its simplicity.

The Tree in Front of Our House

This is the tree in front of the parsonage. It turns this incredible golden colour every Fall. The colour almost glows - it is truly beautiful. I am not sure my picture taken on my Blackberry does it justice (did I mention I got a Blackberry? :-)). No one seems to know what kind of tree this is. Perhaps some sort of elm? It seems to be the last tree to get leaves in the Spring and one of the first to lose them in the Fall. In fact, most years all the leaves fall off in a matter of a few hours over one day.

Friday, September 26, 2008

What are you eating?

Some more brilliance from Chris Rosebrough over at www.extreme - check him out!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

You Don't Say...

Listen to this short clip about church growth actually causing shrinkage...


Tuesday, September 23, 2008


Well - I have been tagged by Pastor Wil Weedon ( What an interesting question to consider! I thank Pr. Weedon for making me think about it. Here it is:

What five people - past or present - inspire your spiritual life??Hmmm...OK, we know that our Lord Himself has to be at the top of the list, so He is assumed. Your five simply follow Him. In Lutheran circles, we will also presume "Fr. Martin of Wittenberg" as well. :-)So the five would be additional people who (humanly speaking) have greatly impacted your life of faith and love on this earth.

So, for me (in no particular order):

1. The Rev. Dr. Gerald Krispin - Now the president of Concordia Universtity College of Alberta in Edmonton and formerly a professor there. One of the most influential of my teachers. It was through his teaching in class, hallway, and later his home, that I was confronted with the true Gospel and a proper understanding of the Divine Service. I have never been the same since.

2. C.S. Lewis - Obviously only known through his writings. I was first introduced to him as a college student in The Screwtape Letters and then I read his biography (which had some similarities to my own life). Mere Christianity also was influential. While some of Lewis' theological positions may be problematic - there is much good here.

3. St. Augustine - I read his Confessions back in college and then took an online course through Notre Dame three years ago. The unflinching look at the deepest darkest parts of his soul was very influential to me as I read it in college. As I read it for the online course I kept thinking "He is so Lutheran!" :-)

4. The Rev. Dr. Norman Nagel - Only known through his many writings, sermons, Issues, etc interviews, and his many students. The first article I read of Dr. Nagel's was in second year college - "Closed Communion - In the Way of the Gospel, In the Way of the Law." I have read everything I can get my hands on by him. His nack for creating words that express the Gospel - genious!

5. Hermann Sasse - Only known through his writings. His passion and devotion for Confessional integrity inspires me. I still have much to learn from the man.

Briefly, also - The Rev. Dr. Ed Kettner (one of my seminary professors) and The Rev. Dr. Arthur Carl Piepkorn - who made me consider the ramifications of the catholicity of the Lutheran church.

That was fun! Thanks Pastor Weedon!

I tag: Pr. Alex Klages (; His wife Mrs. Kelly Klages (; Todd Guggenmos (; and Father Hollywood ( I can't wait to read their posts!

Monday, September 22, 2008

The Drumbeat

Below is an excerpt from an excellent article on the site American Thinker - This is worth reading. Below is a sample.

The drumbeat. It's always there. Day and night. Rain or shine. Winter or Summer. Sunday or Monday. It comes at you from every direction. It comes over the TV, the radio, at work, at school, in music, in the newspapers, from the politicians, in conversation with others, even in church. It wears you down. It robs you of the will to resist its message. Even short-lived victories, which stop it briefly, leave you with the knowledge that it will return; each minor victory bound to be lost to the redoubled efforts of this patient and persistent force. You can't escape it. It never stops. It never gives up. It never ends. It rains upon you from every possible angle, from every possible source.
It's the drumbeat of the left. It is political, philosophical, theological, and social. It pervades every activity. It is post-structural, post-modern, post-everything in the parlance of the day. It is tolerant, diverse, non-judgmental, non-discriminatory, egalitarian, politically correct, multicultural, globalist, and collectivist. It insists that there are no rights and wrongs, no moral absolutes. It turns everything upside down in its looking glass world. It denies the correctness of all that produced what our culture revered before the deconstruction of the world in accordance with the tenets of cultural Marxism.
It denies God, human exceptionalism, and the soul. We are reduced to Darwinian animals floundering in an amoral sea of meaninglessness. It is a product of the nihilistic, existentialist philosophical movement, which went hand in hand with modern art, atonal music, scientific materialism and modern physics, and the generally discordant nature of the twentieth century.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Another Song Within a Song

OK - here is another one. I like Gnarls Barkley. Not all of their stuff - but some of it is so unique and interesting. Anyway - as soon as I heard their song "Storm Coming" I had that familiar feeling that there was a song in there that I had already heard. It bugged me and it bugged me and it bugged me until I finally figured it out.

This may seem out there - but I am sure I am right. The underlying sound in "Storm Coming" sounds like Kim Wilde's 1980s tune "You Keep Me Hangin' On." Listen to the Kim Wilde song (enjoy the 80s flashback) especially nearer the end when the tempo picks up and then listen to the Gnarls Barkley tune (don't mind the video - just a Youtube offering). In "Storm Coming" at about 1:10 in - it kicks in most clearly but it is in the background throughout the song. I actually looked at the disc liner to see if they gave credit for sampling "You Keep Me Hangin' On" but there is nothing there. In "Storm Coming" the tempo is much faster - but I think it is there.

Do you hear it too?

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

There is No Counter-Culture!

This book The Rebel Sell by Heath and Potter (title in the US is A Nation of Rebels) has me thinking. I finished it a few weeks ago. While I found much of interest in this book I think the most intriguing and illuminating argument in the book is that there is simply no such thing as a "counter-culture." In fact, the argument is that the counter-culture has only aided the very consumerism which many in the counter-culture deplore. The "system" far from promoting generic homogeneity among people values distinction. It is the desire to be distinct which drives much consumerism. We are in a constant pursuit to be different than our neighbour, to have something no one else has, to have the "newest," "coolest," etc. The counter-culture only fosters such thinking.
The book also does an incredible job of tracing the roots of the development of the idea that there is an over-arching "System" imposing its will upon us and the rise of a "counter-culture" in the 60s and 70s. Nazism and propaganda, Marxism, and Freudian psychology all play an important part in these developments. One of the most illuminating thoughts from the books is simply that the idea that there is a "System" and a "Counter-culture" is simply accepted by most of us without reflection or critical thought. It has simply become the accepted world view. This book does a great job of asking the question: "Is this really so?" I also think the book does a great job of showing that it is not necessarily so and likely is not that way at all.
This is an incredible book and well worth reading. I am going to do more thinking regarding the counter culture and the "system." I think I will likely re-read the book one more time - partly because I enjoyed it so much - it is a FUN read as well.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Order in the Church

At the great blog Four and Twenty Blackbirds there has been discussion of late regarding some sort of rule or order within the LCMS that would help to promote unity of practice. This would not be an issue of fellowship within the LCMS - not a church within a church - but a voluntary association of pastors and congregations within the LCMS that agree to carry out the Ministry in a certain way. This would include the use of the liturgy, the practice of closed communion, and several other things. The percieved need for such a group has arisen from the wide variety of practice that one finds in the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod. While all claim to be LCMS not all practice across the LCMS is consistent.

This has got me thinking. What about in Lutheran Church-Canada? Could we benefit from something like this? Or would it be divisive? Or might it serve as an encouragement to be faithful and an example to others what a blessing unified practice can be to the Church? What would such a rule and Order in Lutheran Church-Canada look like?

I suggest a variation on what I read at Four and Twenty Blackbirds. This is merely a brainstorming type of proposal. It is a far more modest and less structured venture than what you find at the Blackbirds' site. Remember I am just "spitballing" here.

A Preamble (Off the Top of My Head)

All members of this society who agree to these rules are members of LCC or members of member congregations. The society would essentially be self regulating. Membership is purely voluntary. The society does not intend to impose its practices upon any others. Membership is not a sign of being "more faithful," "more confessional," etc. Membership in the society merely indicates a desire to carry out the Ministry in LCC in a uniform manner and receive support and guidance from others who desire the same. The society will not address issues of practice that are already addressed by membership in Synod (e.g. closed communion - while this is clearly the Synod's practice though widely disregarded - it will be assumed that as a matter of integrity a pastor and congregation of LCC will practice closed communion or be striving to do so).

1. All members agree to use only the Services out of TLH, LW, or LSB.

2. All members agree to use only the hymns that are found in TLH, LW, or LSB.

3. If your parish is presently using a hymnal other than TLH, LW, or LSB (e.g. LBW or heaven forbid Evangelical Lutheran Worhsip) you will actively seek to replace that hymnal with one of the above.

4. Every member will commit himself to praying each day at least one of the Daily Offices (e.g Matins, Vespers, or Compline). Perhaps it would be helpful here to encourage the use of the upcoming Treasury of Daily Prayer from CPH. That way all members of the society would be following the same daily readings, readings from the Confessions, etc.

5. All members will seek to make use of private Confession and Absolution and make themselves available to their parishoners for private confession and absolution.

6. The celebration of the Sacrament of Holy Communion each Sunday is encouraged.

Well, that is a start anyway. Any comments or suggestions?

Thursday, September 11, 2008

This is What I Am Talking About!

A great article that brings up a real issue that ought to be discussed during the election! No, not that election ... our election - the Canadian one.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Metallica's New Song and the 80s the truth is I was a Metallica fan way back in the day. I had all the albums - Kill 'em All, Ride the Lightning, Master of Puppets, ...And Justice for All, Metallica. I really have not followed them since after their album in 1991 Metallica except when I watched the fascinating documentary film Some Kind of Monster.

I was driving home from Regina after a hospital call a couple weeks ago and the radio station played the new Metallica song The Day That Never Comes. Right away I thought there was something familiar about it - especially at the beginning of the song. I finally figured it out. The rif that begins at 1:16 in The Day That Never Comes is almost exactly the same as a
Martha and a Muffins song called Echo Beach. Check it out and tell me if I am right. I am.

See how productive I can be on vacation? Truth is I am always hearing other songs in new songs. Actually I have another one in a Gnarls Barkley song I'll show you in a while.

Monday, September 8, 2008

An Interesting Article

A most interesting article on Islam. I would be most interested in your comments.

On Staycation

Today we begin our staycation. We are going away this coming weekend - but until then we are just hanging around the house and doing things in the area. It will be a nice break.

There are TWO Monday Night Football games tonight - this is a very good thing.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Makes me laugh...and cry.

As the title of this entry says...

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Stand Up! Stand Up!

Sigh. from

Leaving things in the lap of the gods just got a whole lot easier – thanks to Nim Pot Centro De Textiles in Antigua, Guatemala. "Retailing at just under US $700 (£370), the chair's price probably reflects its pretensions to divinity," claims Irishman Matt Hamilton in his travelogue."Towards the back of the incense-enveloped shop" (where Matt and a fellow student Trish found this treasure on earth) "is the wood-carving section. It was to here Trish had brought me and where I now stood, transfixed by the awfulness of the store's most expensive chair."Surely not, Matt. Consider yourself honoured among men for being one of the first to behold a crouching Christ. The rest of us must now journey long to see that of which we have heard.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Very Important Article and a Personal Connection

Here is a very important article that every Canadian needs to read - and Americans will also find it helpful - if only in a preventive way...

So here is my personal connection to this story.

Whatcott is a man I have never met. However, when the Saskatchewan Human Rights Tribunal found him guilty I read the record of their finding on the web. Listed as evidence against Mr. Whatcott were his quotation of some Scripture passages, the use of the term "sodomite" and some other ways in which he expressed his disagreement and dislike of the homosexual lifestyle. I wrote the Saskatchewan Human Rights Tribunal requesting some help in understanding the finding and in particular why the Scripture passages and the term "sodomite" was found as hateful. I asked, with particular interest since I preach publicly each week, if the word "sodomite" was now an illegal word in Saskatchewan. I also asked if certain Scripture passages are now "off limits." I asked several other questions. I was not disagreeing with the Tribunal's findings nor defending Mr. Whatcott. I simply asked for some help in understanding the ramifications of the Tribunal's finding.

I was told that the Tribunal is a "quasi-judicial body" and if I wanted an opinion I needed to seek legal counsel. So basically - if I, a resident of Saskatchewan, want to have the finding of the Tribunal explained to me - I need to get a lawyer. Not satisfied with this I wrote back to the Tribunal asking to whom they were answerable. The answer was the provincial Minister of Justice. I then wrote him and was told the same thing - get a lawyer.

Is this the way it should be? A Tribunal can make decisions that may impact the lives of the residents of Saskatchewan and they are not answerable to anyone and need not explain their finding to anyone. If I preach on Romans 1 - is it a hate crime...I am not sure......I do not have the resources for a lawyer! What if I use the term sodomite - not that I do - but am I free to do so - who knows....

These Tribunals are dangerous. It is time for the Canadian people to recognize this. It is time to demand accountability.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Free Speech in Canada?

Check this out.

Not good. We need help.

Just Sharing the Pain....

Thanks to Pastor Paul McCain of CPH my eyes came upon this:

It hurts. I didn't want to be left alone in my pain so I am sharing it with you. Misery loves company. I was almost going to go into an enraged rant when I realized: what's the point? It's almost enough to make a guy give up. Pimp my Church! Are you kidding me? Seriously?

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

The NFL Season Begins...

I am a NFL nut. I have always loved the NFL. My favourite show since I was in Grade 2 - Monday Night Football. What did I want to be when I grew up: NFL Running Back (just like Walter Payton - my favourite player of all time). The poster on my wall: Walter "Sweetness" Payton carrying the ball through the line. I am a NFL nut. The season begins tomorrow night. I can't wait.
OK - what about the CFL you ask? Well I love the CFL too and especially the Saskacthewan Roughriders. I have been a hardcore Riders fan all my life. I have the T-shirts. I had the player cards growing up (seems to me you got the cards from the Co-op milk delivery man - is that right? Or was it from the Saskatoon city police officers?). Yes, I love the CFL.
But truthfully, the NFL is better. I can't get enough of it. And for the last few seasons I have been playing fantasy football (which inexplicably is not available for the CFL to my knowledge). I love it. During the NFL season there is football on from about 11am till about 11pm every Sunday. What could be better? Then there is the Monday night game. And later in the season we have games on Thursdays now. Then the playoffs. Then the Superbowl - it can't be beat.
The strange thing is that with my great love for the NFL I don't have a strong favourite team. I grew up loving the Chicago Bears. Payton and Singeltary. I always cheered for the Bears. I still do - sort of. But I have also always cheered for the Seattle Seahawks (that loss in the Superbowl hurt - the referees were biased or something). So I have a couple teams I cheer for - but the truth is I just love watching the game.
So - tomorrow night it all begins again. I can't wait!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

The Treasury of Daily Prayer - My Pre-release Review

Concordia Publishing House has produced a new resource called the Treasury of Daily Prayer and it will be made available in late October. The editor of the volume (Rev. Scot Kinnaman) set up a Facebook page for this resource and I joined. After a while I noticed that some others had been given pre-release PDF versions of the Treasury and were publishing their reviews on their blogs etc (e.g. Rev. Wil Weedon). I sent a message on the Treasury Facebook page (jokingly) that I would be more than happy to give a Canadian perspective and review. Well, Rev. Kinnaman took me up on my offer! I have reviewed a massive PDF file of the Treasury in its draft form. The review was to be rather short - it is below.

The Treasury of Daily Prayer has the potential to radically improve the daily prayer lives of any who make use of it. With helpful material that introduces the purpose and procedure of daily prayer the Treasury will prove to be a great resource to introduce the practice into the lives of many. I can see the Treasury serving as something like a "virus" infecting the Lutheran church and beyond with the result of spreading the practice of daily prayer far more broadly than it is practiced at the present time. The Treasury will have a unifying effect as many will be reading the same lections each day - something Hermann Sasse once wished for among the Lutheran clergy. This may lead to discussion groups forming around the daily lections as well as conferences and conventions that will include praying the Offices as part of the schedule.

Finally, one more important point regarding the Treasury. As many have found, the practice of daily prayer and of praying the daily Offices is a blessing, but also a challenge at times. The challenge lies mainly in our flesh. We often allow any excuse to interfere. Often we find it too burdensome to go through several resources. The Treasury does a fine job of providing all the resources in one volume. I have made use of the materials for the last week and it is very simple to use. The "old Adam" will have far less to complain about if one makes the Treasury a regular part of their daily prayer life. I recommend The Treasury of Daily Prayer highly and I look forward to seeing how this resource will positively impact both clergy and laity alike.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Hurricane Gustav Has Me Thinking...

Where I live I rarely face such severe weather as we see in some other areas of the world. Of course, you might consider -30 degrees in the winter severe - and it is - it can and will kill you - but I have never had to face the prospect of having to evacuate to save my life. I began thinking - I wonder how I would react if I had to "run for my life?"
I think for me it would depend a great deal upon who else was running with me. If I could be certain that my wife and children were with me - all else would be inconsequential. The rest is stuff. This is not to say that the stuff is not important - like the roof over your head and the ability to make a living, etc. I can only imagine the fear that would be involved leaving your house and not being certain it would be there for you when you return (especially if one does not have insurance). However, it is at those times and those situations where we hopefully can help each other out. We rely upon each other.
I pray for the safety of those in the path of Gustav. I pray for those already tragically impacted by Gustav. I pray that people can pull together and help those most in need.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

An Interesting Look at George W. Bush's Presidency

Here is an interesting look at the "surprisingly liberal" presidency of George W. Bush's presidency. Not sure what to make of the article.....your thoughts?

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Traditional Church Buildings Favoured Among Unchurched

As I have mentioned before - I subscribe to the journal Touchstone and I am a big fan. In each edition there is a section that contains little "snippets" of news of the Church from around the world. Here is one that caught my attention:
"Unchurched people prefer traditional church buildings to contemporary buildings, and over half said that the style of building would affect their response to visiting a new church, found a study by the Southern Baptist agency LifeWay. Those aged 25-34 were notably more inclined to the traditional church building than the average, while those over 70 were notably less inclined."
How interesting! Are you surprised? Any ideas as to why this may be?

Monday, August 25, 2008

The Dreaded Laptop Ship Away

Today I ship my laptop away to HP for repairs. I am not pleased. First, I am not pleased that I have to ship it away after just a year for repairs. The battery no longer charges and the AC input is wonky (to use the technical term). The repairs are part of an extended warranty deal HP introduced - I assume because these problems on this model were wide spread. It is amazing how dependent we become upon the computers and how strange it is to use another. Where are my files? I hope I have that file on this computer, etc. It will be a fun two weeks!

And to the Mac users out there - I don't want to hear it.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

The Saskatchewan Finger Flip or Wave

I am not sure if this cultural phenomenon is restricted to Saskatchewan. I believe it may also be found in Manitoba and perhaps in certain areas in Alberta. It may also be found in the rural areas of the US but I have no idea. It is the finger flip or wave while driving. NO - not that finger! You will find that everywhere. This I believe to be found only in rural areas.
When one is driving in rural Saskatchewan one will find that almost every vehicle that passes by the driver will wave. But it is a particular wave. It is not a real wave as that would be both dangerous and over demonstrative - which we Canadians abhor. It is only a slight raising of the two fingers while holding onto the steering wheel. This is, of course, reasonable for safety reasons (especially when one is driving on a gravel road where the finger flip/wave is universal). The finger flip/wave is also often accompanied by a slight nod of the head at the same time. I have also noticed that this is, as far as I can tell from my scientific calculations, solely a male practice. I cannot recall ever receiving a finger flip/wave from a woman driver.
I grew up in a city where the finger flip/wave does not exist. It would be ludicrous to drive around and wave at every vehicle that you passed. But I was aware of the finger flip/wave as I had been waved at many times while driving out of the city - but I never reciprocated. I thought it was weird and silly and I even mocked the finger flip/wave. I realized that the people who were waving at me were only doing it because they thought that since I was driving down that road I must be a local and they ought to wave. You wouldn't want a neighbour to pass by and not wave - so therefore you wave at every vehicle no matter what! I always wondered what they must think when I did not wave back.
However, now, since I have been out in the rural areas more driving around making visits and driving to and from Indian Head (as Vacancy Pastor) I have become a finger flipper/waver. I have had to discover a few new routes out on the grid roads where, as I mentioned, the finger flip/wave is a universal practice. I have embraced it. I have grown to like it. I am sure 99% of the time I don't know the person. But I figure, why not? I even have my technique down perfectly. A slight raising of the two fingers with an almost imperceptible head nod.
So if you are out driving around Fort Qu'Appelle and/or Indian Head - wave!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Check This Out!

This is a great episode of Table Talk radio - it is linked on Extreme Theology's website (which is also a great site!). The episode is called "The Biggest Loser." The episode looks at some evangelical sermons (i.e Rick Warren) and cuts out that is not Gospel. See what is left!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Great Start to My Day

When I shower and brush my teeth and such each morning I listen to the radio. This morning there was a call in competition on the radio. The question was: "In what year did Canada win the most medals at the Summer Olympics." A fellow called in - I didn't catch his name or where he lives. He is asked the question again. He said only one word. His answer....


Great start to my day.

Monday, August 18, 2008

4th Annual St. John Chrysostom Lutheran Preacher's Retreat

This just in! The speaker for the 4th annual St. John Chrysostom Lutheran Preacher's Retreat June 22-24, 2009 at St. Michael's Retreat - Lumsden, SK is..............The Reverend David Petersen of Redeemer Lutheran Church - Fort Wayne, IN.

More information will follow but check out his site at

Check out more information regarding the retreat at our website:

Friday, August 15, 2008

A Great Article!

I have subscribed to the wonderful journal Touchstone: A Journal of Mere Christianity for 5 or 6 years and I also read it often while attending seminary (Dr. Ed Kettner had mentioned it favourably a number of times). The journal is not Lutheran but its contributors are made up of those who are committed to historic Christianity from across the spectrum of denominations - Roman Catholic, Orthodox, Lutheran, Anglican, Reformed, etc. While I do not always agree with what I find in the journal I ALWAYS find it thought provoking and usually helpful. It can at times be too focused on American issues - but to be fair it is published in the US - but it also has a very wide view of the Church and includes news of the Church from across the world which is very helpful to keep us from thinking the Church of Christ only exists in our backyards.
In the most recent edition there is a fantastic article regarding the issue surrounding Jeremiah Wright - but it is not political. It points out the real problem with Wright's preaching and notes that the problem is not only to be found in Wright's sermon but in many white suburban churches as well. Truth is, when I read the article it was as if I was listening to one of Todd Wilken's sermon reviews on Issues, etc! Which makes it all the more encouraging that the author, Russel D. Moore, is noticing the same thing. It is a brief article - check it out!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

From the Lacking a Sense of the Holy File....

Read this..... I promise you won't see this any time soon at Our Saviour Lutheran!
Vicar George Brigham, right, conducts the marriage ceremony of Darren McWalters, left, and Katie Hodgson, as they fly over the English countryside near Rendcomb airfield, England, Tuesday Aug. 5, 2008. The wedding service for McWalters, 24, and Hodgson, 23, was conducted over an airborne communications system, with the ceremony played through loud speakers to the congregation waiting on the ground below.(AP Photo/ Barry Batchelor-pa)
So I assume the Vicar in question is of the Anglican church. What would posses a clergyman to agree to such a ceremony? I mean all of us parish pastors have done things we regret or "given in" when we should have said "no." But this? Yikes. What's next - flying funerals?

Great Quote and an Important Reminder

Thanks to Paul McCain's email list ( he brought to mind this morning a quote from an article I read a while ago (from the most recent Logia journal). Here it is:
"I declare myself for the Lutheran Church for the sake of the treasure. The Lutheran Church lacks many things I would like to see in it, but it has something that lets it be the true church despite all shortcomings, and for the sake of which I find it easy and beautiful to be faithful to it in its outward misery. Do you know what I am talking about? I am talking about its utterly pure confession and its pure doctrine in conformity with its confession. Who has ever proved that its confession is in error in any doctrinal article? When speaking of its confession, I am not only talking about the Augsburg Confession, but about the entire Book of Concord from the Augsburg Confession all the way to the Formula of Concord. You do not know these writings, dear reader, otherwise you would agree with me. Get to know them and you will agree. What is more beautiful, lovely, powerful, and lively than Luther's catechisms? What is more catholic than the Augsburg Confession and its Apology? What is more thoughtful and bold than the Smalcald Articles? And what is slandered more wrongfully than the beautiful Formula of Concord in its clean but mild definition of all teachings? Dear reader, I repeat, you do not know your Church's confessions of faith. Get to know them in order to know why you adhere to your church."

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Ripped Off Canadians!

So the Canadian dollar is at about 94 cents to the US dollar. Why is it that we are still paying so much more for items in Canada than people pay for the same item in the USA? Good question! An article on this very topic:

My Cute Kids

Some pics of my cute kids -Noah, Naomi, & Abigail - from our brief visit to the farm this past weekend. Obviously, they take after their mother.